In light of the COVID-19 global pandemic and school closures all around the world, we want you to know we are with you. Who ever would have guessed we’d experience something like this in our lifetime? We feel the emotional toll this is taking on our global community, and our goal in this issue of The Playlist is to take just a tiny little bit of that burden off of your shoulders. In this issue, you’ll find links to online learning resources, ways to get the kids moving when you’re stuck indoors, non-screen learning, backyard fun, and creative ways to navigate this very difficult situation when it comes to our kids. As parents, we have one option: Keep them healthy and safe, and try to make it fun!
Reading & Media
Our number one tip for you this month? Read whatever they want! You can read to them, they can read to each other (older siblings doing read aloud with younger siblings is just about the cutest thing we ever did see), and/or you can set up space for independent reading in their daily routine. If you don’t already, make sure you’re signed up for a library card so you can access all of the FREE online resources local libraries are providing for families. Choose from Seattle Public Libraries, King County Library System, or Sno-Isle Libraries.
A couple of our favorite children’s book lists, compiled of recommendations from local Seattle bookstores, are 9 Children’s Books that Inspire Gardening and Top 12 Children’s Books About Love & Kindness. Consider ordering your books from these small businesses! Many are offering free shipping during shelter in place.
My family is big into podcasts these days, and I always like to share a new favorite. But Why? is a kids podcast by NPR, and they recently released an episode called Coronavirus For Kids, And The Science Of Soap, which is a great way to address questions around what's going on in the world and how kids are processing all of it.
We’re all in this homeschooling adventure together, so we’ve asked some of the top teachers in the city to pull together their highest ranking online resources. Here they are.
If you’re working with pre-kindergarten learners, this guide on how to bring a Montessori approach to home learning is brought to you by a local Montessori director, and is quite helpful.
Finally, don’t miss these tips on how to keep kids learning while school is out. And, as we well know, school is definitely (indefinitely?!) out.
We’re all under a whole lot of pressure and stress right now, and one way to make the best of this difficult situation is to flip the switch on “school” and turn learning time into an opportunity for “enrichment.” Check out these lists of fun, easy, meaningful activities that you can do at home with kids.
9 creative and educational things to do at home with kids. Have a sensory treasure hunt, make a cloud in a jar, have an epic art session, and more fun ideas to do at home.
School closed? Here are some ways to keep your kids busy. Have a family game night, explore National Geographic, and get outside for some fresh air. Read helpful how-tos in this short article.
The Playlist: Gardening for Kids. A huge compilation of gardening tips and projects for kids (little and big) to do in the house or the backyard. This is a perfect theme to tackle during these times of social distancing. Also check out The Playlist: Love & Kindness and The Playlist: Gratitude to help foster acceptance, love, kindness and gratitude during these challenging times.
Creative Home Education. Pick any theme your kids are interested in (bugs, ocean, farm life, construction, whatever!) and dive in, head first. Ask questions, do research, make art projects, do science experiments, and learn everything you can about your fascinating topic. What a great way to connect, learn, and have fun while stuck at home.
Quick pick: Make homemade playdough!
Mix 1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 tsp vegetable oil
15 drops food coloring
Microwave for about a minute and a half
Have fun squishing and molding the gooey substance in between fingers!
Art & Music
I don’t think we can ever have enough of the arts in our lives right now. Even just creating a calm, quiet space for drawing while listening to soft music or a calming podcast can be so therapeutic. Break out the coloring books (the adult versions are great, too) or print out coloring pages online, and get into the creative zone. This is an excellent way to be present with our kids, and open the door to conversation about whatever is going on for them.
Need some easy, artful ideas for projects to do with the supplies you have at home? This list of non-screen art activities is awesome. Plus, learn about local online art resources from galleries and museums like SAM, Schack, Tacoma Art Museum, Bellevue Art Museum, and more.
Check out this list of calming podcasts, art, and music we’ve put together, great for slowing down and creating a space to take a breath. Cultivating a calm down time into the day can also be a nice segway for talking about feelings during this time of big change and transition.
Also check out the Seattle’s Child very fun Kids & Art Pinterest page for easy projects to do at home.
Quick pick: Make a found object color wheel! Learn about rainbow order, as well as primary, secondary, and even tertiary colors. Then, go around the house collecting objects of all colors, and putting them in order in a circular pattern on the floor. Now you have a beautiful, rainbow visual aid!
The Seattle’s Child Family Events Calendar has gone virtual! That means that live events from all of the world are available through Zoom, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and other platforms with the click of a mouse. One cool thing about this whole ordeal is the access kids are getting to amazing experiences through technology that they wouldn’t otherwise have. And many places are offering these events at no cost!
For home learning programs from local museums and state & national parks, virtual field trips, and more, refer to these cool websites and virtual events for Seattle families.
Of course, we’re all spending a significant amount of extra time in front of screens due to the current circumstances, so make sure you’re modeling healthy habits and setting boundaries with your kids. Here are 10 tips to help your child develop healthy screen time habits.
Play time! Movement & Outdoors
Just because we are stuck at home, doesn’t mean we can’t get outside! Here are some tips for getting outside, even if you can’t venture far.
Quick pick: Mystery sounds! Set up a corner of your house with a few items you already have lying around, like a mixing bowl, spoons, a salt shaker, a board book, a few toys, etc. One person stays in the musical corner, creating an interesting sound out of two objects, and the others hide out of ear shot. Then, the other players return and try and guess which two objects made the mystery sound!
We've got this, Seattle!
Leah Winters is the Calendar Editor for Seattle’s Child, and a former K through 8 teacher with a Masters in Art Education from Boston University. She is also the (very busy) mother to three young boys, ages 7, 4, and 1. For more ideas on themed learning from bugs to outer space to farm life and much more, check out her blog at creativehomeeducation.com or follow her on Instagram.